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Sounds of the season

Festival of Carols, a 70-year tradition, continues at Grant Hall.

For the 71st year in a row, Grant Hall will be ringing with the sounds of the season.

Since 1945, the Queen’s University Engineering Society has hosted an annual carol service. This year, the tradition continues, with a few tweaks to the program to give it more of a community focus and provide a chance to sing with friends and family.

Preparing to sing their hearts out are: Back row (l to r): Ryan Kwast, Nick Hetherington, Thomas Rautenbach, Sam Mason and front row (l to r): Alex Bennett, Steven Ta, Monet Slinowsky, Claire Dederer 

In 2013, the service, formerly the Carol Service, was renamed the Festival of Carols and the programming was updated to make it more inclusive and diverse. While carols are still sung, organizers now welcome two choirs to perform and, this year, the concert will close with an anthem dedicated to Nelson Mandela.

“Initially the concert was attended by members of the engineering faculty but then alumni starting participating and now it’s open to the community,” says organizer Monet Slinowsky. “The concert has slowly changed over the years, but there will still be singing of traditional carols and readings from the Bible. And there are now other elements that will appeal to everyone.”

Community choirs The Caledonias and All the Queen’s Men will perform and Ms. Slinowsky has also formed a new choir, The Festival of Carols Choir.

“The theme for the concert this year is ‘Love is light in the darkness’, and I think the programming will reflect that,” says Ms. Slinowsky. “It’s a chance for Queen’s and the larger community to get together and just sing. Music is a universal language and we are celebrating that. It’s also a chance to get everyone in the Christmas spirit.”

The concert will take place Sunday, Nov. 27 starting at 7:30 pm in Grant Hall. Admission is free, donations to the food bank are accepted.